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Culture Shock

Alternatives to the Grammy Awards

My previous article was centered around how the Grammy Awards seem to show bias in choosing awards, as well as not recognizing Black artists for the work they put in.

As a solution to this problem, some people call for the Grammys to be replaced by a new, fairer music award show. However, two existing award shows have the potential to become the next big thing.

The Billboard Music Awards

The Billboard Music Awards, often called the BBMAs, first took place in 1990. This award show is different from others because its nominees and award winners are based on statistics.

According to the Billboard website, the organization takes into account “key interactions with music fans, as well as album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound.”

Billboard is at a huge advantage when it comes to awards, since it has first-hand access to all of these statistics.

The BBMAs are a solid alternative to the Grammys, because Billboard is already known for having a top opinion of songs and artists on the rise and at the height of the music industry.

When it comes to taking home BBMAs, Drake is #1 with 34 total. Taylor Swift is not far behind him with 29.

The Billboard Music Awards also feature unique awards that we may not find at the Grammys. For example, the BBMAs include acknowledgement for Top Tour. This recognition is beneficial because it highlights the work artists put in for their live fans, in addition to what they do for streaming and radio fans.

The 2022 BBMAs took place on May 15. Some of its top winners show the variety in the celebration of music:

Top Artist: Drake

Top New Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Top Duo/Group: BTS

Top Streaming Song: “STAY” by The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber 

Top Selling Song: “Butter” by BTS

Top Radio Song: “Levitating” by Dua Lipa

The American Music Awards

The American Music Awards, also known as the AMAs, date back to 1974. They started when Dick Clark wanted to compete with the Grammys on a different network. 

In the original format of the AMAs, the award winners were chosen by music industry individuals. Since 2006, the rules have changed to fans voting for award winners. This truly gives power to the music listeners.

In possession of 40 AMAs, Taylor Swift is the top award winner. Michael Jackson stands in second place with 26 awards.

The 2022 American Music Awards was on November 20. Its top awards were:

Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift

New Artist of the Year: Dove Cameron

Favorite Music Video: “All Too Well: The Short Film” by Taylor Swift

Looking Forward

Some people argue that the BBMAs and AMAs are popularity contests. To that argument, I’d like to pose a question in rebuttal: Would you rather the highest honor in music be chosen by a secretive committee, or the fans that actually listen to the music and support the artists?

I understand that these award shows may get to the point where the same people are winning year after year, but that is a true reflection of the music industry. With the internet, votes can also be enhanced or altered, though there are rules set in place that allow a certain amount of votes per day.

In reality, a BBMA or AMA may not hold the same weight as a Grammy. Despite this idea, we can still look at them as alternatives that value the statistics and fan opinions, rather than letting the votes be tallied by a committee.

The 2023 Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards will take place on May 14 and November 19, respectively.


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